Walter Secada Appointed to NASA Committee

Walter Secada

Walter G. Secada

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

The committee will provide advice on space science-related programs

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 16, 2016)—Walter G. Secada, professor and senior associate dean of the School of Education and Human Development, has been appointed to the NASA Advisory Council Science Committee, becoming the first holder of a new seat on the committee designated for STEM education.

“As a childhood immigrant, I see it as an honor to be asked to serve my country in any capacity,” said Secada of the two-year appointment. “However, this particular appointment has that overlay of cool that is beyond the wildest dreams of that high school geek who watched the moon landing on black-and-white TV.”

The Science Committee provides advice on all of NASA’s earth and space science-related programs, projects, activities, and facilities in the areas of earth science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics. The 15 committee members are leading authorities with relevant expertise drawn from academia, industry, and government agencies, as well as independent researchers.

“Dr. Secada is a leader in STEM education who brings a unique combination of research and practical insights that will provide people of all ages educational and professional access to NASA scientific disciplines,” said Kristen Erickson, director of science engagement and partnerships at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The son of Peruvian parents, Secada graduated from Miami’s Curley High School and later left the area to earn a B.A. in philosophy (magna cum laude) from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in education from Northwestern University.

“It is a great honor for the University of Miami to have one of our best and brightest determining the future of STEM education in a special role at NASA,” said Thomas J. LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost. “We could not be prouder.”

Isaac Prilleltensky, dean of the School of Education and Human Development, echoed that sentiment, adding, “Dr. Secada sets an example for us all through his outstanding commitment to excellence in research, teaching, and service.”

Since joining the UM faculty in the fall of 2003, Secada has been associate director and co-principal investigator of the study Promoting Science among English Language Learners (P-SELL) with a High-Stakes Testing Environment, a National Science Foundation-funded, quasi-experimental study on effective science instruction for Haitian Creole- or Spanish-speaking third- through fifth-graders.

He has served as associate director and co-PI of Science Made Sensible, another NSF-funded fellowship training program that pairs doctoral students in the STEM fields with middle-school teachers, and director and PI of Language in Mathematics, an Institute of Education Sciences-funded research and development project intended to create a professional development intervention to help fourth- through eighth-grade teachers better facilitate mathematics for their English-language learners.

Secada also has served as chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at UM and as a member of the University’s Social Sciences Institutional Review Board.


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Charmel Maynard Joins Treasury Team as Assistant Vice President

Special to UM News

Charmel Maynard

Charmel Maynard

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 9, 2016)—Charmel Maynard, formerly vice president of J.P. Morgan’s  investment bank, has joined the University of Miami as assistant vice president of the treasury team. He reports to Vice President and Treasurer Geoff Kirles.

In his new role, Maynard will lead the University’s treasury functions, including banking and bank relationships, cash management, bond and term loan issuances, student accounts receivable and collections, and corporate cards.

“Charmel will work closely with Joe Natoli, senior vice president and CFO, and myself on our liquidity, capital markets, debt management, endowment asset management, and project/facilities business plans,” Kirles said. “Please join me in extending a heartfelt welcome to Charmel.”

Maynard comes to UM with more than 10 years of experience at J.P. Morgan, and has expertise in executing loan and bond transactions, capital structure advisory, operational and financial due diligence, and financial modeling. He recently advised several large companies on their financings for mergers and acquisitions, refinancing of existing debt, and new capital projects.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Amherst College.

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UM Hires Peace Corps Recruiter

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

Donna Bean

Donna Bean

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 16, 2016)—The University of Miami, which ranked No. 25 among medium-sized schools on the Peace Corps 2016 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, has hired a new Peace Corps recruiter. With an office at the Toppel Career Center, Donna Bean will ensure that UM continues to excel in service to the Peace Corps.

A 2015 graduate of the School of Nursing and Health Studies, Bean served in the Peace Corps in Mozambique from 2009 to 2012, using her skills as a nurse to work with HIV/AIDS patients. Now, as a part-time recruiter, she hopes to attract more UM students by providing one-on-one counseling, organized information sessions, film screenings, and attending other networking events. Currently, 13 UM alumni are serving in the Peace Corps around the world.

“My goal at the U this first year is to establish the presence of Peace Corps on campus,” Bean said. “I have an office on campus and provide weekly office hours for students to come in and ask any and all questions about the Peace Corps.”

Her efforts also include working with the School of School of Education and Human Development, which has a Peace Corps Master’s International program through its Masters in Education, Community and Social Change degree. That program couples a master’s degree with Peace Corps service.

Bean credits former UM President Donna Shalala’s enthusiasm for the Peace Corps for motivating many students to learn more about organization launched in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. One of the first Peace Corps volunteers, Shalala served in Iran, where she lived in a mud village and taught at an agricultural college, from 1962-1964. It was in the Peace Corps, Shalala always told students, that she became “a citizen of the world.”

“I think her presence and collaboration with the Peace Corps has been a wonderful influence on the campus and our student body,” Bean said, noting that UM students have been participating in the service organization since its inception.



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UM Names Vice Provost for Institutional Culture

Special to UM News


Isaac Prilleltensky

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 10, 2016)—Isaac Prilleltensky has been appointed vice provost for institutional culture at the University of Miami. As vice provost, his primary responsibility will be the ongoing implementation of the University’s culture transformation initiative. In addition to this new role, Prilleltensky will continue to serve as dean of the School of Education and Human Development and report to the provost.

Prilleltensky will focus on developing programs to actualize the values embraced by the University community. In addition, he will be in charge of evaluating the culture transformation initiative. He will also serve as a resource for the team that has been established by President Julio Frenk to create the framework for a culture of belonging at the U.

“This position will be critical to aligning University efforts to be one U—to be a place where each individual feels valued and has the opportunity to add value at the U,” said President Frenk. “Isaac’s lifelong dedication to the study of individual, organizational, and community well-being will be a tremendous asset as we work together on this important initiative.”

In the past, the University has worked with external consultants in the fields of service excellence and culture to create a foundation for culture change. Phase two of the culture transformation initiative brings these efforts inside the U, with Prilleltensky at the helm. Phase two of the culture journey will expand on the foundation of values, behaviors, and standards that have been established University-wide. The existing culture leadership team will grow to include new members and will continue to be chaired by Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.

“I look forward to working with all of our friends across the University as we begin phase two,” said Prilleltensky. “Speaking on behalf of the entire UM community, I would like to extend our collective thanks to the culture coaches, work team members, and others who have gone above and beyond their duty to help with this effort.”

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Alumnus Appointed Dean of the Graduate School

UM News

Prado photo

Guillermo “Willy” Prado

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 1, 2016)—The University of Miami has appointed UM alumnus Guillermo “Willy” Prado, the Leonard M. Miller Professor of Public Health Sciences and the director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health at the Miller School of Medicine, as the new dean of the Graduate School, effective immediately.

“Dr. Prado is well positioned to raise the Graduate School at UM to a new level of excellence, thanks to his passion as a researcher and educator,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.

As dean of the Graduate School, Prado will work in partnership with the deans of the schools and colleges to support and develop strategies for attracting the next generation of scientists and researchers to graduate education at the University of Miami.

He will specifically manage the process of external program reviews and new program proposals, oversee the selection process for University of Miami graduate fellowships, chair the Graduate Council meetings, and meet regularly with graduate program directors, among other duties.

“This appointment is particularly meaningful to me because the University of Miami has been my academic home for 15 years, inclusive of my graduate training,” said Prado, who earned his Ph.D. in epidemiology and public health in 2005 and his Master of Science in statistics in 2000. “My plan is to work collaboratively with University leadership, graduate program directors, and the rest of the University community to continue to increase the quality of graduate education for our students.”

Prado joined the UM faculty in 2007. In the areas of research, he has served as principal investigator of approximately $10 million of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. He also has served in the roles of mentor and co-investigator of approximately $60 million of NIH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding, including a leadership role on two NIH-funded center grants.

His research has appeared in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, including The Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, American Journal of Public Health, and American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

During his tenure, Prado has led the development of the Ph.D. program in Prevention Science and Community Health, as well as redesigned the epidemiology doctoral program. Having taught more than 10 graduate courses in prevention science, epidemiology, and biostatistics at UM, Prado has mentored many junior faculty, post-doctoral students, and graduate students.

As chief of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health since 2013, Prado has overseen a research program endowment of $375,000. Before that, he led the Ph.D. in Epidemiology Doctoral Program and served as acting chief of the Division of Epidemiology.

John L. Bixby, vice provost for research and professor of pharmacology and neurological surgery, chaired the search committee for the Graduate School dean and describes Prado as the “best of the best.” Noting that Prado will play a key role in UM’s progress in education and research, Bixby said, “Even among a number of highly impressive applicants who interacted with the Search Committee, Willy’s personality, accomplishments, and insight stood out. I am personally delighted that he will be our next dean.”

“Willy is an extraordinarily bright, dedicated public health researcher whose enthusiasm for his work is infectious,” said José Szapocznik, chairman of the Department of Public Health Sciences, who recruited Prado to the faculty after he completed his doctoral degree. “His work in prevention science has made him a superstar at UM and in the national scientific community.”

Prado replaces M. Brian Blake, who was named provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Drexel University last spring. In the interim, Angel Kaifer, professor of chemistry and senior associate dean for research and graduate education in the UM College of Arts and Sciences, served as dean.

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